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DHHS Home > Division of Public Health Services > Public Health Laboratories > NH Biomonitoring Program >
Targeted Arsenic and Uranium Public Health Study
A Biomonitoring New Hampshire Project

Participants in the NH Targeted Arsenic and Uranium Public Health Study have been mailed their results and community meetings were held in Dover, Newfields, and Concord.

Watch a webinar of the community meeting presentation: NH Targeted Arsenic and Uranium Public Health Study Webinar, 4/29/19 (YouTube)

Biomonitoring New Hampshire logoWe come in contact with chemicals every day. They are in the food we eat, the air we breathe, and the objects that surround us. The question is—How much of those chemicals is actually getting inside our bodies? Are those chemicals causing disease or are they not harmful to us?

About This Study

Young boy drinking waterNew Hampshire is “The Granite State” which means we have bedrock that naturally contains arsenic and uranium. The NH Department of Environmental Services (NHDES) estimates that 46% of NH residents use private wells as their primary source of water for their home and that less than half of private well owners regularly test their well water. This study was conducted to look at how much arsenic and uranium is found in private wells in NH and whether these two chemicals are getting into the body.

This is a targeted public health study that was specific to areas of higher exposure to arsenic and uranium. Based on a 2012 USGS report Adobe Acrobat Reader Symbol, NH towns with an increased probability of having arsenic above the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) maximum contaminant level (MCL) of 10 ppb (parts per billion) in the groundwater were selected to recruit participants. (Please note that NH legislators are currently considering lowering the MCL to 5 ppb for arsenic in drinking water. The MCL is a standard for public water only.) A small comparison population on municipal (or “public”) water from Concord was also involved. Invitation postcards and letters were mailed to several hundred randomly selected households in each town. Enrollment was open to all qualified residents. Qualified people were 5 years or older, lived in a selected town, and used a private well for their home (except for the comparison population).

Participants spent about two hours over the course of a couple of days to 1) attend a meeting to answer survey questions and get their collection kit 2) keep a basic food log and 3) collect a urine sample and two water samples from their home. The survey included questions about their demographics, occupational history, recreational activities, food and beverage consumption, and health. In return, participants received free arsenic and uranium testing of their urine and free water quality testing. All testing was performed by the State of New Hampshire Public Health Laboratories (NH PHL).

Study Status
The NH Targeted Arsenic and Uranium Public Health Study is complete. Results have been reported to participants and a Summary Report Adobe Acrobat Reader Symbol of initial findings of this study is available.

If you have questions about the study, please contact Amanda Cosser, Program Administrator, or Melissa Josefiak, Program Specialist (see contact information below).

Resources

  • Fact Sheets

  • If you are interested in testing your well water, but are not interested in participating in the study or do not qualify, you can learn more about the testing services offered by the NH PHL Water Analysis Lab here or you can find a list of other qualified labs Adobe Acrobat Reader Symbol.
  • If you are unsure if you have a well, read through our fact sheet on wells Adobe Acrobat Reader Symbol,
    Hoja Informativa Sobre Pozos (Spanish) Adobe Acrobat Reader Symbol, to learn more. You most likely have a well if you do not receive a water bill from your city or town.
  • Our partners at the Dartmouth Toxic Metals Superfund Research Program have put together an informative website called “Arsenic and You” where you can learn more about arsenic in food, water, and other sources.
  • Learn more about uranium from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC’s) Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry.
  • Learn more about arsenic Adobe Acrobat Reader Symbol from the CDC’s Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry.
  • Did you know that the CDC has a National Biomonitoring Program?
  • One example of biomonitoring is conducting a targeted investigation due to a known source of exposure. An example of this is the per- and polyfluoroalkyl (PFAS) investigations at Pease Tradeport and in southern New Hampshire. You can learn more at the PFAS (or PFCs) page.

Financial and technical assistance is being provided through cooperative agreement with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Division of Laboratory Sciences at the National Center for Environmental Health RFA EH14140202. The contents of these pages do not necessary represent the official views of the CDC.

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New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services
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